Good night and good luck

5 March 2010

Written by: Tom Cowie

Anyone who has been to a 21st birthday party will know that nothing is more tedious than a speech that drags on for far too long. So, with that in mind, I will keep this farewell note short and sweet.

Firstly, I would like to extend my eternal thanks to my fellow upstart colleagues Lawrie Zion and Christopher Scanlon.

Together, they have founded a publication that provides emerging journalists with an opportunity that has been notably absent from university programs in the past; the potential to reach an audience that extends far beyond the university system.

During my tertiary studies, the only outlet to get work published has been the student newspaper, and, while that publication serves its own valid purpose, it does not have the same scope as upstart.

By providing me with the opportunity to be student editor, both Lawrie and Chris – as well as the wide range of upstart contributors – have helped me grow enormously as a journalist.

Enjoyably, there has been an extraordinary amount of editorial freedom afforded to me by my colleagues.

I would also like to thank my predecessor Erdem Koç, who handed me the reins in November last year. After having watched him help grow upstart into such a fantastic resource for students, I can only hope that I helped carry the torch in a similar vein.

Upstart has grown far quicker than all of us intended and – with over 300 pieces published since its launch in June last year – has a fantastic platform for further growth in 2010.

In today’s media reality of the multi-skilled journalist, our educators regularly stress that a published portfolio is not just an advantage but a requirement. One of the big positives of upstart is that it provides the opportunity for students to build that portfolio.

But more than that, upstart is also a resource for students to rely on as they build their knowledge of the craft of journalism.

Over summer, we were able to launch the hunt for the books every journalist should read, which saw us receive responses from journalists and writers from all over the media industry.

We were also able to offer opportunities to work in the media in a range of different areas, experience that could be vital in landing a job in journalism.

However, the most exciting aspect of being student editor of upstart has been the opportunity to publish the work of my fellow students.

There is an outstanding amount of journalistic talent in our university system, and to be able to help foster that talent has been a privilege.

In some ways it feels like I am leaving just as things get started, however I will enjoy the chance to move on to other opportunities and to see upstart continue to grow in the hands of others.

In particular, I look forward to seeing upstart develop during the tenure of Kelly Theobald and Matt de Neef, the newly installed student editors who will be steering the upstart ship into the new university year.

I would like to wish them all the best as they enter a new and exciting time for the publication.

Tom Cowie is a final year Bachelor of Journalism student and the outgoing editor of upstart. He has been published at the National Times and, in a few weeks, will start an internship at Crikey. His blog is called stop making sense.